Series Preview #18: Cleveland Indians (27-22) at Cincinnati Reds (31-19)
Bob Toth | On 27, May 2013
After losing the final two games of their series in Boston in devastating fashion late, the Cleveland Indians look to return to their winning ways as they head to Great American Ball Park to take on the Reds on Monday. After a pair in Cincinnati, both teams will head to Cleveland for a two game series at Progressive Field to wrap up their season series.
The Indians (27-22) lost their second consecutive series of the season after dropping a short two game set with Detroit during the week and losing three of four to Boston. The team is in a tough batch of the schedule, which includes series against Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees, Detroit, Texas, and Washington over the next three weeks.
The Reds (31-19) have been playing quality baseball over the last few weeks. Their loss on Sunday ended a five game winning streak. A few games prior, they put together a six game streak that was their best stretch of the season. Both Cincinnati and Cleveland enter with 16 wins in the month of May. The Reds have dropped six, while the Indians have lost nine.
Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 6.04 ERA) and Mike Leake (4-2, 3.25) make up the pitching matchup in Monday afternoon’s 1:10 PM ET start time. Jimenez had his worst outing in over a month in a loss to Detroit his last time out. He allowed six earned runs for the third time this season while lasting just four innings. Leake will aim to extend his scoreless inning streak beyond 13 2/3 innings. He has won each of his last two starts while keeping runs off of the board.
Zach McAllister (4-3, 2.89) is the scheduled starter for Cleveland on Tuesday. Mat Latos (4-0, 3.17) will counter for Cincinnati at 7:10 PM ET. McAllister gave the Indians five innings in his last outing, striking out five and allowing a three-run home run. He has pitched at least five innings in all nine starts this season and has allowed no more than three earned runs in any appearance. Latos has pitched six innings or more in nine of his ten starts this season. He is undefeated on the season, despite allowing nearly twice as many earned runs in May (15) as he did in April (8).
Television broadcasts for both games will be shown on Fox Sports SportsTimeOhio and Fox Sports Ohio. Over the airwaves, the games can be heard on any of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network or on WLW 700 in the Cincinnati area.
The Indians head to Cincinnati after dropping a pair of heartbreaking games to lose their last series in Boston.
Cleveland won the series opener on Thursday in resounding fashion by a 12-3 final, giving Terry Francona a win in his first trip back to Fenway as a manager. McAllister earned the win after allowing five hits over five innings. The only blemish on his night was a three-run home run to David Ortiz. Scott Barnes pitched three scoreless innings for his first major league save. The Indians offense plated 12 runs without a single ball leaving the yard.
Bostongot the better of Justin Masterson and they bounced back on Friday night with a decisive 8-1 victory over Cleveland. Masterson allowed five earned runs on six hits on the soggy evening. The lone Indians run scored on a wild throw from the Boston catcher on a double steal in the third.
A four-run eighth inning off of setup man Vinnie Pestano gave Boston a late victory over the Indians, 7-4. Pestano allowed four runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. A defensive lapse on a pop up to shallow left allowed the final two to score. Scott Kazmir worked five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. It was the Indians’ first loss on the season when leading at the start of the eighth inning.
The Indians bullpen lost a 5-2 lead and their closer in the bottom of the ninth, as the Red Sox pulled off an improbable comeback capped by a walkoff two-run single by Jacoby Ellsbury, as Boston defeated Cleveland 6-5. Corey Kluber gave the Indians an outstanding effort, allowing one run and three hits while striking out ten batters in six and two-thirds innings on the afternoon. Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher each hit home runs. Closer Chris Perez exited the game in the ninth inning with a shoulder injury after allowing two runs, two hits, and three walks. Joe Smith allowed the final two runs, charged to Perez, to cross on one pitch to Ellsbury.
Perez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday morning with right shoulder soreness. Reliever Nick Hagadone was recalled from Columbus to replace him on the roster. It is the first career DL trip for the Indians closer.
With the series loss, the Indians dropped one and one-half game behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and have a one-half game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Wild Card. They have a two and one-half advantage over the Chicago White Sox.
Michael Brantley, in limited opportunities against Latos, has hit the Reds starter well. He has three hits in five plate appearances, including a pair of doubles. He has had a hot bat of late, batting .333 over the month with 15 RBI.
Asdrubal Cabrera has raised his batting average from .217 on May 3rd to .263, thanks to a .295 batting average in May. He has hit successfully in each of his last six games.
Michael Bourn has reached base in all but three games that he has played in the month of May. He is batting .314 . He leads the team with seven stolen bases in the month.
Cincinnati took two of three from the Chicago Cubs over the weekend in front of a packed house at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds won the opener on Friday night, 7-4. Bronson Arroyo earned his fifth win, throwing a quality start on the evening with a pair of strikeouts in six innings. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips both extended hitting streaks. Votto slugged his eighth home run of the season.
Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey outlasted Travis Wood as the Reds defeated the Cubs 5-2 on Saturday. The Cubs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Reds came back with a run in the fourth and four more in the sixth. Bailey struck out eight over six innings. Aroldis Chapman earned the save in his fourth consecutive appearance.
The Cubs salvaged the finale in Cincinnati in extra innings on Sunday, 5-4, after scoring five unanswered runs after an early 4-0 deficit. Johnny Cueto was sharp for seven innings, allowing just one run. A two-run home run by Alfonso Soriano helped to cap the comeback. The Cubs scored the go-ahead run in the tenth with two outs on a deflected RBI double.
Cincinnati fell into a tie for second place in the National League Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates after their loss Sunday. They still trail the St. Louis Cardinals for the lead in the division. They have the second-best record (18-7) at home in all of baseball, trailing just the Atlanta Braves (15-5).
Votto continues to be among the league leaders in all of baseball in batting average (.353). He leads all qualified players in on-base percentage (.479). The month of May has been kind to him – he has a .429 batting average, .529 on-base percentage, and .655 slugging percentage through 26 days. He saw a 12-game hitting streak end on Saturday afternoon. He has reached base safely in each of the last 15 games.
Former Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has made a productive transition to the NL. He is batting .285 on the season and is third in all of baseball with a .441 on-base percentage. On a high-powered offense with several big bats, the centerfielder leads the team with nine home runs this season.
Another former Indians player, Phillips, is third in the Majors with 42 RBI, two ahead of Cleveland’s leader, Mark Reynolds. An 0-for-4 on Sunday afternoon ended a 12-game hitting streak.
Left-handed pitcher Sean Marshall was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Reds on Friday with a sprained left shoulder. Lefty Manny Parra was activated from the disabled list to assume his roster spot.
Outfielders Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey are both on the 15-day DL. Heisey is eying an early June return from a strained right hamstring. Ludwick has missed all but two plate appearances this season after suffering a torn labrum that required surgery after sliding into third base on Opening Day.
No current Indians players have ever faced Leake. No current Reds players have faced McAllister. The only four players on the Reds current roster to face Jimenez have been pitchers (Bailey, Parra, Cueto, and Jonathan Broxton).
Cleveland holds a slight edge against Cincinnati in 81 games all-time. The Indians are 42-39 overall, but the Reds hold a 21-18 advantage in Cincinnati. The two teams split their six games together last season, with the home teams sweeping the road teams at both venues.
Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images